The Sense of Place
Dune Lakes Retreat and Equine Centre is situated on the beautiful South Kaipara Head Peninsula.
The Kaipara South Head is a massive, ancient sand barrier that separates the South Kaipara Harbour from the Tasman Sea. A long line of interdune hollows runs up the Kaipara South Head, parallel to the coastline. These interdune hollows are lower than the groundwater level so they fill up with groundwater to create fresh water lakes.
Lake Ototoa is the largest of these interdune lakes. Lake Kereta is another smaller example, as shown in the photo below.
To the West
The wild coastline and spectacular sunsets over the Tasman Sea and 65 kilometres of Muriwai/Rangatira Beach.
To the East
The sheltered waters and sunrises over the Kaipara Harbour and Shelly Beach to the east.The Kaipara is the largest harbour in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a pristine and peaceful environment as well as a highly valued recreation area.
It is an important feeding ground for marine mammals - orca and dolphins are often seen in the harbour - as well as an internationally significant roosting and feeding area for migratory birds.
The keen bird watcher will find Bar-tailed Godwits, Knots, Turnstones, Pacific Golden Plover, Far-Eastern Curlew, Whimrel, New Zealand endemic Fairy Tern, Wrybill, Pied Oystercatcher, Variable Oystercatcher, Banded Dotterel, Pied Stilt, and Caspian Tern.
Shelly Beach is a popular recreational beach with a beautiful backdrop of huge old Pohutakawa trees - with our closest local supplies shop, café, kids play area, and a wharf where fishermen and boating enthusiasts gain access to the Kaipara.
To the North
The calm and tranquillity of lagoon at the top of the Peninsula.
The wetland is home to mallard, grey duck, black swan, pied shag, pukeko, paradise shelduck. The sacred kingfisher nest around the wetland margins and flitting amongst the pine and native trees are North Island fantail, grey warbler and silvereye.
A wide track around the lake enables visitors to traverse the changing patterns of wetland vegetation in the dune lake system, the vista broken here and there by the bordering manuka and kanuka trees.
The Victorian villa is adjacent to the beautiful Lake Kereta, adjoining Woodhill Forest which stands on ancient sand hills covering an area of 12,500 hectares planted predominately with radiata pine. There are plenty of picnic areas, lookouts, trails, walks, lakes, and orienteering.